Archive for August, 2010

Varsity Jr. Closes

Jane Rawlings, President
Lindridge Martin Manor Neighborhood Association
 

Jane Rawlings, LMMNA President

As most of you are probably aware Varsity Jr. has closed its location on Lindbergh Drive. Much rumor and speculation exists surrounding this development and I want to present the facts. 

As background, beginning in 1999 the Cheshire Bridge Task Force was formed to examine ways to improve the corridor.  From this effort a study was completed, and, ultimately, the corridor was rezoned. While the details of the zoning are complex, the overall net desire and effect of this rezoning was to create a more pedestrian friendly environment. Many area neighborhood associations, businesses, and residents participated on this Task Force including but not limited to LMMNA and Varsity Jr. 

Fast forward 11 years when Varsity Jr. submitted an application for a Special Administrative Permit or SAP with the City of Atlanta Planning Department on February 8, 2010. As is required the Planning Department reviewed the application and plans and documented its comments. The city pointed out aspects of the plan that were inconsistent with the zoning regulations for the parcel. The Varsity Jr. property was “grandfathered” i.e. was granted legal non-conforming status when the Cheshire Bridge Corridor was rezoned as a result of the efforts of the Cheshire Bridge Task Force. Given the scope of the renovations planned (> 60%) the new regulations would have gone into effect. You can visit the city’s website for an overview of the zoning regulations for MRC-2-C. 

The applicant was advised by planning of their options to seek a Special Exception to the code. For whatever reason the applicant chose not to pursue such. Had they done so, they would have then been required to appear before the LMMNA to present their plans. LMMNA would then have made a recommendation to NPU-F as to whether or not to support the applicant’s Special Exception. NPU-F would have then made a recommendation to the BZA and, ultimately, the BZA would have decided whether or not a Special Exception was advised. 

At no time did LMMNA take any official position on this application as it never came before us, since the applicant chose to neither amend the plan, nor file for a Special Exception to the zoning regulations. 

Moving forward. . .obviously many within the community are saddened by the loss of this business. I ask, however, that area residents learn a very important lesson from this experience. First, when future applications come before us (and they will) I would recommend that folks make decisions based on the merits of the plan and not their emotional attachment to the applicant. Remember, zoning changes stick with the PROPERTY not the applicant. Properties continuously change owners so one cannot rely on the good will of an owner to act in the future best interest of the neighborhood. Instead, neighborhoods must seek zoning regulations that are in the best interest of their neighborhoods and then work to see that the City upholds them. To the best of our ability LMMNA needs to consistently and fairly apply the law. We expect the city to do the same. If, in the future, Varsity Jr. decides to re-file or seek a Special Exception, then LMMNA will have an opportunity to weigh in on the merits of granting such.  

As most of you are probably aware Varsity Jr. has closed its location on Lindbergh Drive. Much rumor and speculation exists surrounding this development and I want to present the facts. 

As background, beginning in 1999 the Cheshire Bridge Task Force was formed to examine ways to improve the corridor.  From this effort a study was completed, and, ultimately, the corridor was rezoned. While the details of the zoning are complex, the overall net desire and effect of this rezoning was to create a more pedestrian friendly environment. Many area neighborhood associations, businesses, and residents participated on this Task Force including but not limited to LMMNA and Varsity Jr. 

Fast forward 11 years when Varsity Jr. submitted an application for a Special Administrative Permit or SAP with the City of Atlanta Planning Department on February 8, 2010. As is required the Planning Department reviewed the application and plans and documented its comments. The city pointed out aspects of the plan that were inconsistent with the zoning regulations for the parcel. The Varsity Jr. property was “grandfathered” i.e. was granted legal non-conforming status when the Cheshire Bridge Corridor was rezoned as a result of the efforts of the Cheshire Bridge Task Force. Given the scope of the renovations planned (> 60%) the new regulations would have gone into effect. You can visit the city’s website for an overview of the zoning regulations for MRC-2-C.  

The applicant was advised by planning of their options to seek a Special Exception to the code. For whatever reason the applicant chose not to pursue such. Had they done so, they would have then been required to appear before the LMMNA to present their plans. LMMNA would then have made a recommendation to NPU-F as to whether or not to support the applicant’s Special Exception. NPU-F would have then made a recommendation to the BZA and, ultimately, the BZA would have decided whether or not a Special Exception was advised.  

At no time did LMMNA take any official position on this application as it never came before us, since the applicant chose to neither amend the plan, nor file for a Special Exception to the zoning regulations.  

Moving forward. . .obviously many within the community are saddened by the loss of this business. I ask, however, that area residents learn a very important lesson from this experience. First, when future applications come before us (and they will) I would recommend that folks make decisions based on the merits of the plan and not their emotional attachment to the applicant. Remember, zoning changes stick with the PROPERTY not the applicant. Properties continuously change owners so one cannot rely on the good will of an owner to act in the future best interest of the neighborhood. Instead, neighborhoods must seek zoning regulations that are in the best interest of their neighborhoods and then work to see that the City upholds them. To the best of our ability LMMNA needs to consistently and fairly apply the law. We expect the city to do the same. If, in the future, Varsity Jr. decides to re-file or seek a Special Exception, then LMMNA will have an opportunity to weigh in on the merits of granting such.

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August 30, 2010 at 11:26 pm 1 comment

2010 Taste & Tour of Cheshire Bridge Road

 

 

FOR IMMEDIATE RELEASE

Contact: Yuki Takahara
Fax: 404-874-7897

Phone: 678.777.7833

E-mail: yuki@tourofcheshirebridge.com

Website: www.tourofcheshirebridge.com

TASTE & TOUR OF CHESHIRE BRIDGE 2010

A Weekend of Sensory Exploration on Atlanta’s Quirkiest Little Road

The upscale, family-friendly businesses of Cheshire Bridge Road are working together to bring you the 2nd annual Taste & Tour of Cheshire Bridge. Some of Atlanta’s top restaurants will offer tastings while other retail stores will offer raffles and discounts. Ticket sales from this year’s event will benefit the Lindbergh LaVista Corridor Coalition or LLCC and the Blueprints plan to beautify the Lindbergh LaVista Corridor area.

Atlanta, GA, September 11-12 – The Taste & Tour of Cheshire Bridge will operate Saturday September 11 and Sunday September 12. Tastings, tours, will be offered from 12 noon to 5 PM with a gathering after 5 PM at Cheshire Pointe with local musicians, artist and information booths on civic associations, nature conservancies, park services and public service groups. Recommended lots for parking are on Liddell Drive, Faulkner Road, and 1893 Piedmont Road (back parking lot of Nakato Japanese Restaurant). Trolley service will be available with a history tour of the colorful street. Tickets will be sold online at www.lindberghlavista.org and participating store locations. Ticket prices are $20 each for the entire weekend. Many of the Cheshire Bridge businesses will be offering different samples, tastings, and giveaways for each day of the event.

Proceeds from ticket sales will benefit the Lindbergh LaVista Corridor Coalition, a non-profit organization for promoting the safety and progress of the business nodes along the corridor as well as creating a blueprint for sustainable and progressive neighborhood planning. 

Many of the participating businesses have called Cheshire Bridge Road their home for decades while others have recently joined the eclectic Cheshire Bridge mix. Participating businesses include but are not limited to Alfredo’s, Antiques and Beyond, Bamboo Luau, Java Blues, The Colonnade, Costumes Etc., Flora Dora, Las Margaritas, Nakato Japanese Restaurant, Nino’s, Taco Cabana, Habersham Gardens, Johnny’s Pizza, Return to Eden, Roxx Tavern, Rusto’s Pizza, Ursula’s Cooking School, Sheik’s Burritos n’ Kabobs, Woodfire Grill and Rhodes Bakery. 

If you would like more information on this event, the participants, or if you would like to schedule an interview with any of the participants, please e-mail yuki@tourofcheshirebridge.com.

Visit www.lindberghlavista.org for more information on the community blueprint.

August 20, 2010 at 5:23 pm Leave a comment

Georgia DOT releases draft criteria for new metro transportation projects

By Maria Saporta

If approved by voters in 2012, it is expected that the sales tax would generate about $7 billion over its 10-year life span. So the big test will be how those $7 billion will be invested.

The framework for making those decisions is beginning to come light.

On Thursday, Todd Long, director of planning for the Georgia Department of Transportation, released the “draft” criteria that will be considered in coming up with the project list.

People need to keep in mind that the sales tax will only raise about one-tenth of the money that the region estimates is needed to meet most of transportation needs.

The Regional Transit Committee has estimated that it would cost about $55 billion just to implement a metrowide transit plan as outlined in Concept 3.

So the tug-of-war of how that money will be divided will keep everyone busy between now and next year, when that project list is expected to be presented to the public.

At the Sustainable Atlanta Roundtable meeting Friday morning, Long summarized the criteria that is being put in place.

“The projects have to be strategic in nature,” Long said as part of a panel discussion on Georgia’s Transportation Future. “The projects have to be deliverable in the period of the tax. And projects have to be appealing to the public.”

The criteria also puts together a minimum and maximum range of what can be spent on road, transit and other transportation projects. For example, the range for roadway capital is between 20 to 50 percent. The range for transit capital is between 10 and 40 percent. The range for transit operations and maintenance is between 5 and 20 percent.

The balance would be spent on safety, traffic operations, freight and logistics, non-motorized transportation, aviation and roadway and bridge maintenance.

In other words, according to the criteria, the share that transit could get is as low as 15 percent and as high as 60 percent.

Here is the link to view the Draft Criteria for the Atlanta 10-county Special Tax District.

August 6, 2010 at 8:39 pm Leave a comment

Survey Shows Region’s Economy Depends on Transit

ARC recently conducted a survey of 50,000 transit riders from around the region (10 percent of total ridership), and learned that the current system of bus and rail is helping to keep support metro Atlanta’s economy, while preparing the workforce of the future. The survey showed that:

  • 45 percent of trips are between home and work
  • 73 percent of these could drive to work, but choose to ride transit
  • More than 40,000 school-related trips are made each day
  • 64 percent of those riding to work have limited or no access to a car
  • 31 percent of riders are students
  • 10 percent of riders have incomes higher than $75,000

August 3, 2010 at 6:07 pm Leave a comment

The Voyager on Peachtree Creek

David R. Kaufman’s journey down Atlanta’s forgotten waterway

This report was prepared by Ken Edelstein, with assistance from Joeff Davis, Samantha Simon and Tammy Vinson. Online production by Alejandro Leal.

John Wesley Powell had the Colorado. Lewis and Clark explored the Missouri. For Henry Morton Stanley, it was the Nile.

David R. Kaufman set his sights a bit more modestly. Since he moved to Atlanta as a kid in 1971, Kaufman wanted to uncover the mysteries of Peachtree Creek, a neglected stream that drains the northern half of Atlanta.

Now he’s completed his voyage of discovery. Throughout the 1990s – sometimes with a friend, most often alone – Kaufman descended the North and South forks of Peachtree Creek, as well as some of its tributaries.

What he found by canoe and on foot, and what he recorded with a 4-by-5 camera, was a stream whose rich history and natural beauty has largely been pushed aside by roads, buildings, garbage, pollution – by a city that turned its back on what could be a magnificent resource. Yet remnants of that history and beauty remain. 

Kaufman shares his journey in a book, Peachtree Creek: A Natural and Unnatural History of Atlanta’s Watershed (University of Georgia Press, 2007).

Here are some photos and excerpts. 

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August 3, 2010 at 10:16 am Leave a comment


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